Larry And His Flask By The Lamplight Album Review
The first time I heard Larry and His Flask, I was captivated by their unique sound. In conversations with others, I tried to describe their music: rock, Americana, rockabilly, gypsy, alt-rock, Cajun? Who the heck knew what to call it, but it was damn good stuff and one hell of a fun listen.
When I downloaded the new album, By the Lamplight, I noticed that iTunes classified it as punk. Yeah, I guess that works, but these guys will never be confused with the Sex Pistols. If they are indeed punk, I think it would have to be that omnipresent Hillbilly Cajun Punk that’s sweeping the music world.
Larry And His Flask most closely resembles the music of Frank Turner and Flogging Molly. On the incredibly diverse new album, we hear tinges of all the aforementioned genres and the very different sounds weave together nicely, but none of those comparisons does this Oregon-based group justice. Their music is their own; lets just call them the first entree into the new Flaskian Punk scene.
On By the Lamplight, we see them at their foot-stomping, thigh-slapping best. It’s a fun journey where the songs are all over the proverbial map, but somehow they weave together perfectly. You’ll hear prominent stand-up bass, banjo, ukulele, electric guitar, all kinds of percussion, and who knows what else. Good stuff…
The first track, “Pandemonium” kicks off with a cold a Capella vocal and then abruptly rips into a swinging Dixie jaunt before evolving into a clever rocker. It’s a rarity in today’s generally saccharine, safe rock landscape, but a harbinger of things to come on the album. “Out of Print is a more traditional rocker but still offers a hint of swing with a groove that defies you to sit still. You’ll find plenty of banjo as well, including the romping “The Battle For Clear Sight.”
“Home of the Slave” is a rollicking southern rock jaunt, guaranteed to become a staple in their already dynamic live show. It’s got some great social commentary, but this song is dominated by the banjo and guitar riffs and addictive vocals. On “Cruel Twist of Fate” and “Tides” we see another aspect of the band’s sound, as they throw in some nice brass.
Listening to By The Lamplight, I frequently found myself drawn to comparing the work to Frank Turner’s. There’s good reason; the band backed him recently in Europe, and released this album on his Xtra Mile Recordings label. I’m not certain, but do believe Turner’s voice can be found on the album, as well. This one is not as good as Turner’s masterful Tape Deck Heart (see our review here), but still a creative album worth a listen (Check it out below).